pumpkin harvest granola (no added sugar, gluten free option)

Pumpkin lovers, this one’s for you!

If this big orange fall fruit-that-we-think-of-as-a-vegetable is your thang, than you’ll want to scoop up this recipe pronto.

The pumpkin harvest granola is seasonal twist on my simply saturday version and ushers the spicy scent of fall right into your kitchen. Eat it at breakfast if you want to stick with tradition, but I’ve found a few ways to work it into my snack-happy habits and I’ll be sharing one of those with you next week.

It’s recipes like these that are slowing winning me over to the ways of pumpkin…I don’t think it will ever edge out my love of apples, but it just might come close. If you want to share where you fall in the pumpkin vs. apple debate, enter your vote here on my FB page.

 

The pumpkin harvest granola recipe is one of the three bonus recipes included in the the Perk Up Your Pantry – Fall edition recipe ebook. Not only does it include this recipe, but you’ll get these as well:

  • 5 essential sauce recipes
  • 5 essential snack recipes
  • 5 easy main dish recipes
  • 3 fall-inspired bonus recipes
  • A shopping list of all ingredients

PLUS you’ll receive two bonus items: a meal prep tip sheet and a meal plan tip sheet which includes a suggested meal plan featuring the recipe in the Fall Perk Up Your Pantry recipe book. All for only $8! Click here to buy it now.

 

 

 

 

snack to school week, Day 5: snack roundup

It’s the last day of the first week of school for us. And the last day of Snack to School Week here. I’m a little bit sad since it’s been such fun sharing these school-snack related recipes with you.

However, I’m excited to end this week with a recipe roundup of snacking inspiration that will keep you going with school snack ideas for awhile. I can’t wait to try these out myself, test them on my kids and come up with a new recipes for Snack to School Week 2018.

But first, a little bonus for you!

If you like round ups and lists, then you’ll want to grab a free copy of my Top 10 Go-To Snacks printable! Click to sign up and have it delivered to your inbox.

Ready for that roundup? Here we go…

Cinnamon Apple Chips ll Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen

A fun way to put a new spin on a lunchbox staple.
photo & recipe credit :: carries experimental kitchen
photo & recipe credit :: carrie’s experimental kitchen

 

 

Nut Free Protein Energy Bars ll Petite Allergy Treats

A great option for children with allergies or who attend nut-free schools.
photo & recipe credit :: petite allergy treats

 

 

7-Layer Dip

Layer the dip into individual containers or mix up a big batch for both home and school. This is one recipe that everyone in my family enjoys – an extremely rare occurrence around here!

 

 

Vegan Cheezy Crackers ll Robin Robertson via Glue & Glitter

Finally, a vegan answer to goldfish crackers and cheez-its!
Recipe from Veganize It! by Robin Robertson // Photo Credit Glue and Glitter

 

Blueberry Peach Fruit Roll Ups ll Cupcakes and Kale Chips

Another fun twist on sending fruit to school and no need to worry about bruising or mushiness!
recipe and photo credit :: cupcakes and kale chips

 

 

Salt & Vinegar Zucchini Chips ll Sugar-Free Mom

If you’re children like salt and vinegar chips, give these a try…it may help them become more excited about eating zucchini at the dinner table too!

recipe and photo credit :: sugar-free mom

 

 

Blueberry Banana Bread Bars

These also are a great breakfast dessert option and are my favorite way to use up very ripe bananas.

 

 

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Energy Balls ll Cupcakes and Kale Chips

This allergy-friendly recipe is both nut and seed free and can be made gluten-free if using gluten-free oats.
recipe and photo credit :: cupcakes and kale chips

 

 

Homemade Cool Ranch Doritos ll She Likes Food

Forget the kids! These would go in my own lunchbag. 
recipe and photo credit :: she likes food

 

 

Peanut Butter Banana Jumbleaya 

Keeping things simple – like this recipe – in the midst of very busy schedules is a smart way to save your sanity. It can also teach your children to experiment with different food combinations.

snack to school week: apples + date caramel (vegan, no added sugar)

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The other week I shared this recipe for date caramel. This week, I’m sharing it again; this time with the quintessential back to school fruit: apples.

My personal favorites are granny smiths because their tartness is a perfect complement to the natural sweetness of the date caramel. Organic apples are best since conventional apples rank #4 on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list. (Hint: to have quick access to this list, download their Dirty Dozen app to your phone!)

And on that sweetness…there is no added sugar in this date caramel. It’s sweetened entirely by the sugars which naturally occur in the dried Medjool dates (which are the best choice for this recipe).

Funnily enough though, my youngest thought it was “too sweet.” I’m still scratching my head over this one since he happily eats candy and drinks pop whenever he can despite my best efforts to squash that. LOL Which just goes to show even “kid friendly” recipes aren’t foolproof as I shared on Day One of Snack to School Week.

I love this recipe because its:

  • easy to prepare
  • fun
  • packed full of nutrients
  • smooth and creamy
  • a better way to appease that sweet tooth
  • versatile

If you’re sending the apples to school, try squeezing a little lemon juice over them to keep them from turning brown.

Only one more day to go in the 2017 edition of Snack to School Week. Come back tomorrow for my roundup of other amazing school snack ideas!

Print
Date Caramel
Prep Time
10 mins
 

Rich and creamy and loaded with nutrients and plant-protein, this date caramel easily comes together to satisfy your sweet tooth, but without giving you a sugar crash.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 6-8 Medjool dates
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp (scant) salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Instructions
  1. Pit the dates and then add all ingredients to a food processor or high speed blender. Blend until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy, adjusting salt to taste. For a thinner sauce, add more almond milk.

Recipe Notes

Store in an airtight jar in the fridge.

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  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • I usually buy my almond butter from Trader Joe’s, but click here for another option.
  • Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.

 

snack to school week: imperfect fruit cups

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I debated about sharing this recipe with you because, well, it didn’t go exactly according to plan.

It was the first time I was trying out the vegan alternative to gelatin and because our last few weeks were crazy busy, I didn’t leave time to practice with it before wanting to share the recipe with you. It certainly tastes fine, but it didn’t hold up the way I had hoped. In fact, a few of them fell apart.

However, I think there’s a lesson in this which is why I’m sharing the recipe anyway. Because as moms with access to an overwhelming number of ideas beautifully styled, captured and shared online, we can feel like our own efforts are not good enough when they turn out less-than-perfect. Which makes us feel less than.

And I think this message gets filtered down to our children.

This is why I’m sharing my less-than-perfect first attempt with this recipe (and what I might try next time) because I want to live believing that my attempts to delight and surprise my children are good enough even when they don’t look that way on the surface.

 

Delighting and surprising my children is exactly what I had in mind when I decided to try the vegan version of “jello” fruit cups since it’s a rare treat around here. Vegan “jello” uses agar agar (which comes from seaweed) instead of the animal-based gelatin typically found on store shelves. If you want to learn more about how animal-based gelatin is made, here’s the low down from organicauthority.com.

 

 

The other advantage of making your own “jello” fruit cups is the ability to control the sugar content by using 100% fruit juice. For this recipe, I chose a cranberry, raspberry, blackberry blend.

 

I think there were a few contributing factors to these falling apart once I removed them from the muffin tin:

  1. I used frozen raspberries instead of fresh which increased the water content. Therefore, I recommend using fresh fruit for these.
  2. I probably needed more agar agar than recommended because I used berries (which affects the geling abilities) and I wanted these to pop out of a muffin tin instead of staying in a dish.
  3. It took me a few attempts to figure out how to free them from the tin without destroying them, and go figure, it was gravity that came to the rescue.

 

Print
imperfect fruit cups
Prep Time
5 hrs
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
5 hrs 10 mins
 

These "imperfect" vegan fruit cups subtract added sugar and animal-based gelatin and multiply fun.

Course: Snack
Servings: 15
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 4 cups 100% fruit juice of your choice
  • 4-6 tbsp agar agar
  • 1/2 cup fresh fruit (apple, pear, banana, berries, oranges, kiwi)
Instructions
  1. Grease a muffin tin very well with coconut oil. Set aside.

  2. Pour the fruit juice into a large saucepan and sprinkle in the agar agar*. If you plan to add berries, oranges or kiwi, you will need to use 6 T of agar agar. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

  3. Using a ladle, carefully pour the liquid into each muffin cup, leaving enough room to add the fruit without the liquid spilling outside the cups.

  4. Add a few pieces of fruit to each cup, then place muffin tin on a jelly roll pan (to catch any spills), and put in the refrigerator for several hours or until set.

  5. To remove fruit cups from the tin, carefully run a knife around the sides of each portion to loosen. Then, over the jelly roll pan, invert the muffin tin upside down at about a 30 degree angle. One by one, run the knife around the side of each fruit cup. Gravity to help the cup to slide out of the tin and onto the pan. You'll want to rotate the muffin tin as you do this so that the fruit cups you are loosening are closest to the jelly roll tin. Use a spatula to scoop up each fruit cup and carefully place in a storage container. If stacking them in one container, separate each layer with a piece of parchment paper. Store in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

*I used agar agar flakes. You may need to adjust the quantity if using agar agar powder or bars - simply follow those package directions. Not all fruits are compatible with agar agar. To learn more about this, visit this link.

 

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  • I found my package of agar agar flakes at Whole Foods Market in the Asian food section. Natural food and Asian grocery stores also may carry it, or you can find the flakes here and the powder here.

snack to school week :: more spinach trees! (nut free, sugar free, vegan)

As I was dreaming up this week of recipes for you, I had several goals in mind: the recipes had to be quick and easy to prepare, offered healthier, more nutrient-dense alternatives to typical kid-geared snacks and had an element of fun to entice tiny palettes.

When it comes to fruits and sweeter veggies like carrots, this isn’t so hard. But greens like spinach are another matter.

Which is why I’m so excited to share this recipe with you! I’m mildly obsessed with it and cannot believe I hadn’t thought of it before. It’s ridiculously easy, free of nuts, can also be make seed-free and takes an already healthy condiment to a new level.

Meet the “More Spinach Trees” snack.

You have two options for mixing up the spinach hummus dip. Either you can finely chop the spinach and stir it into the hummus for a leafy look.

Or place the hummus and spinach in a food processor and give it a whirl until the spinach is thoroughly incorporated and turns the hummus a light green color. While I love homemade hummus (you can find my favorite recipe here), I usually buy mine because it’s a time saver for me.

To assemble as the More Spinach Trees, slice some cucumber, spread on the spinach hummus dip and add a pretzel rod trunk. If you’re sending this to school, you can package each element separately and let your child assemble on their own. While it’s healthiest to leave the pretzel rods out all together, keep them in if it encourages your child to try the spinach hummus dip.

While I find it hard to notice a difference in taste or even texture when I’ve added the spinach, suspicious children may still balk at trying this (one of mine did). If that’s the case, start out with smaller amount and gradually increase it over time as they adjust to the new color.

If you try this, I would love to hear your feedback! Did your children like it? Or not?

 

Print
More Spinach Trees!

A fun and easy way to boost the nutrients in an already healthy snack and sneak some extra greens into your child's diet...and your own too!

Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup regular hummus of your choice
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed spinach
  • cucumbers, sliced
  • pretzel rods
Instructions
  1. For the "leafy" spinach hummus dip, finely chop the spinach and stir it into the hummus. For the blended green hummus, add the hummus and spinach to a food processor and blend the spinach breaks down and turns the hummus to a light green color.

  2. To assemble the "trees," spread the hummus on each slice of cucumber and place on a tray. Add a pretzel rod "trunk."

Recipe Notes

For pickier eaters, you may need to start off with smaller quantity of spinach and gradually work your way up. The spinach doesn't noticeably affect the taste or texture of the hummus, but the different appearance can cause little ones to be suspicious. 😉

One of the best tips for helping children accept vegetables and new flavors is one I encountered in a vegetarian cookbook several years ago: chop the veggies into smaller child bite-sited pieces. I’ve found I like doing this for myself too! For this dip, finely chop the spinach if you’re going to stir it in vs. blending it.

 

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  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • I bought my pretzel rods at Trader Joe’s, but here’s a brand I like even better!
  • My go-to brand of hummus is made by Sabra which many grocery stores carry.

 

oatmeal raisin cookie dough bites, vegan + sugar free


First up: The winner of the Oh She Glows Everyday cookbook by Angela Liddon was Quinn. Aaaand, I just got word that she received it today!

Now something for everyone…this recipe for oatmeal raisin cookie dough bites. I think it was actually one of Angela’s cookie recipes that I was trying a few years ago, when I discovered how toasted pecans have the same buttery butterscotch flavor as oatmeal raisin cookies (ORC). In a traditional ORC, it’s the brown sugar and butter that give it that homey flavor.
I love finding simple, easy and no-sugar ways to make tasty desserts and snacks and this one checks off each of those boxes. Plus it has been kid- and crowd-approved.

So without further ado, here you go:

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Bites

2 c. pecans, toasted*
1 c. date paste
1 1/4 c. rolled oats, organic if possible
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c. shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 c. raisins

Place pecans in a food processor  and blend until nuts are crumbly. Add remaining ingredients, except the raisins, and blend until well combined and the “dough” holds together when pressed between your fingers. Pour into a mixing bowl, add raisins and “knead” in with your hands (it’s easier than a spoon ;)). Form dough into balls that are about 1″ in diameter. Can be stored in an airtight container for several days.

Recipe Notes

This recipe can be cut in half for a smaller amount or for only 1-2 people. If you have a larger family or a crowd, I suggest keeping the ingredient amounts as is.

*See this post for a quick and easy way to toast nuts.

 

 

 

 

O Canada cherry berry creamsicles (vegan, sugar free)

Every year I tell myself I will plan ahead and get my holiday-related posts up before the actual day.
Ahem!

But inevitably, I leave inspiration to strike at the last minute. 

(For those of you who don’t know me, I live in the US and am now a citizen but I was born in Canada.)

I came across this idea on Pinterest, and had to try it while dreaming up my own recipe.

I was so excited how these Cherry Berry Creamsicles turned out! They were easy to make and are packed with whole fruit and are dairy and sugar free.

If you want a quick video tip that comes with making these, leave a comment with your email address.

There’s also lots of fun and inspiration happening daily on my Facebook page…www.facebook.com/wildberrycoach. I would love to have you join me there for conversation!

CHERRY BERRY CREAMSICLES

1.5 cups frozen cherries

1.5 cups frozen strawberries

1 T white grape juice (optional)

3 bananas, sliced into rounds and frozen

1 15 oz can full fat coconut milk.

1 tsp. vanilla

1. Bring cherries and one cup of strawberries to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add white grape juice if using. Add to a food processor with the remaining strawberries and blend until smooth. Let cool then add a large spoonful to the bottom of each Popsicle mold. Freeze.

2. Rinse food processor bowl and add frozen bananas, coconut milk and vanilla. Blend until smooth.

3. Take Popsicle mold out of freezer and add 2-3 spoonfuls of banana-coconut mixture. Pop back in freezer for 20-30 minutes.

4. Add remaining cherry strawberry mixture to top off the Popsicle molds and insert stick.

5. Freeze until frozen solid.

6. To release Popsicle from mold, run under warm water. 

raw rutabaga pizzas (vegan, gluten free, anticandida diet, paleo, raw)

raw rutabaga pizzas The hardest thing about modifying your diet can be figuring out just what the heck your now going to eat. This month, I’ve been following the anti-candida diet which cuts out all sugars and drastically cuts carbs among other things to address the problems that come with a systemic yeast overgrowth.

Since I’m a big fan of hummus which is not ACD-friendly, I needed an alternative for a hearty and satisfying snack. And thankfully I found it in baba ganoush. I also had to switch out raw carrots for the first couple of weeks and replace those with rutabaga – a veggie with strong anti-fungal properties.

I came up with this snack to satisfy my usual carrots + 100_4865hummus cravings. Usually, I’ll just slice it in rounds and pile on the tomatoes, but it can also be down-sized by cutting the rutabaga into smaller circles or fun shapes with cookie cutters. If you do this, just be sure to eat the scraps instead of pitching them because #zerofoodwaste.

 

The baba ganoush recipe is inspired by Minimalist Baker and I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve typed “baby” instead of “baba” while writing this post. LOL

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of th raw rutabaga pizzas recipe

raw rutabaga pizzas

Prep Time: 20-25 minutes

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

Cool Time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients

    For the Baba Ganoush

    • 2 medium eggplants
    • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 2 lemons, juiced
    • 4 T tahini
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • water

    For the rutabaga pizzas

    • 1 fresh rutabega
    • cherry or roma tomatoes
    • fresh basil (optional)

    Instructions

    For the Baba Ganoush:

    Peel and slice the eggplant into disks about ¼’ thick. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and if desired, drizzle with avocado oil. Bake eggplant in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and tender. Cool slightly.

    Place eggplant and remaining baba ganoush ingredients (except the water), in a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides a couple of times. Add water to thin if needed.

    Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

    Baba ganoush can be kept in the fridge for several days if stored properly in an airtight jar.

    For the Pizzas:

    Peel rutabaga and slice thinly (about 1/8” ). If desired, use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes for smaller, bite-sized appetizers.*

    Spread baba ganoush on the rutabaga slices and add a piece of basil if desired, plus a slice of tomato.

    Recipe Notes

    *Baba ganoush recipe is inspired by Minimalist Baker

    *If making these into bite-sized appetizers, use cherry tomatoes.

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    game day any day 7-layer dip (vegan, gluten free)

    dip2

    So here’s what the dip looks like all assembled and ready to be devoured:

    100_4021We didn’t quite polish it off last night, leaving some for lunch today. Leftovers sometimes get a bum rap, but I think they are shining stars when it comes to saving time and money, unless, of course you didn’t like the premiere of the dish to begin with.

    A quick note on the salsa. Homemade would be the top choice, but rarely do I want to take the time to make my own. Instead, I turn to Pace since it’s sugar free and contains relatively straightforward and familiar ingredients. You might be surprised to see how many shelf-stable salsas contain sugar and other questionable ingredients, so read the labels people. The shorter the list and the closer to being reproducible at home, the better.

    oven-baked sweet potato chips + guacamole (vegan, oil-free)

    2009-01-18 19.13.25I grew up in a home where we ate quite a variety of foods, especially fruits and vegetables. But somehow the avocado eluded us. And guacamole? The first time I tried it I was in my late twenties.

    It was love-at-first-bite.

    guacamole collage But chips, guac’s side kick, are rather low on the healthy eating spectrum, sprouted, organic, GMO-free or not. And despite their salty, crunchy tastiness, I’ve been looking beyond the vegan label to examine what I’m actually putting into my body.  Because eating a plant-based diet doesn’t necessarily = a healthy diet.

    So when I want a healthier compadre for my guacamole, I round up some sweet potatoes and put them to work. According to WebMD, sweet potatoes are full of calcium, potassium and vitamins A & C.sweet potato rounds collageBoth recipes are simple to prepare and contain a small handful of ingredients.

    But before we get to the recipes, I wondered…are there any foods or dishes that somehow eluded you in childhood that you discovered as an adult?

    CLICK TO PRINT A PDF of the guacamole recipe
    CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the oven baked sweet potato chips recipe

    oven baked sweet potato chips & guacamole (oil free, vegan)

    Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

    Cook Time: 45-60 minutes

    Keywords: bake raw appetizer snack side gluten-free nut-free oil free paleo soy-free sugar-free vegan vegetarian garlic avocado cilantro sweet potato Cinco de Mayo Mexican

    Ingredients

      For the Sweet Potato Chips

      • Sweet potatoes
      • Salt
      • Chili powder
      • Cumin

      For the Guacamole

      • 1 avocado
      • 1- 1½ tsp. fresh lime juice
      • 1-2 T cilantro
      • 1 small garlic clove, minced
      • 1 tsp. cumin
      • 1/8 tsp. salt
      • Freshly ground pepper

      Instructions

      For the Sweet Potato Chips

      Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

      Meanwhile, peel sweet potatoes, then slice into rounds about ¼” thick.

      Place rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with seasonings to your taste.

      Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hours, turning at least once until potatoes are cooked through.

      For the Guacamole

      Peel the avocado, remove pit and mash.

      Add remaining ingredients to the avocado and stir thoroughly.

      Best if served immediately.

      Recipe Notes

      Plan to prepare approximately 1-2 sweet potatoes per person depending on the size of the potato.

      Sweet potato chips are best when freshly cooked, but can be stored in the fridge and then reheated

      Avocados are ripe when their skins are black and they yield gently to the touch.

      A fork or potato masher work well to mash the avocado.

      Sometimes I add in diced onion and/or finely diced tomatoes to mix things up a bit.

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